Governor's PR Stunt Backfires . . . Easley Proves Shubert's Point

Contact: Fern Shubert or Andrea Norberg, Press/Public Relations Tel: 704-624-2720 or 1-877-GOV-FERN.

For immediate release

For many months, State Senator Fern Shubert has pushed for legislation to halt the practice of giving real government identification (drivers licenses) to people without real proof of their identity. In late December, Governor Easley finally responded, not by supporting the needed legislation but by having DMV issue a press release saying they planned to tighten the procedures for issuance of driver's licenses starting February 2nd .

Have you been by a DMV office lately? Thanks to the announcement in December of plans to tighten up in February, lines are out the door. The press has documented the fact that lines have lengthened as people rush to avoid tighter rules.

“Unfortunately, this is much like the trick that the administration played in 2001 after 9-11 when they claimed to tighten up. The lines will be shorter when the new rules go into effect because everyone planning to use questionable documentation anytime soon is rushing to beat the deadline.” Senator Shubert observed. “If they had told the truth in 2001, they wouldn't need to tighten up now. The fact is, just like the last time, those seeking fake ID will soon learn the changes won't stop anyone who really wants a fraudulent drivers license while the public will believe NC has tightened up.”

North Carolina law, which cannot be changed by DMV but requires legislative action, permits the use of Individual Taxpayer Identification Numbers (ITINs) that are worthless from a security standpoint. The law says “The Division rules adopted pursuant to subsection (b3) of this section shall also provide that if an applicant cannot produce any documentation specified in subsection (b3) or (b4) of this section, the applicant, or in the case of a minor applicant a parent or legal guardian of the applicant, may complete an affidavit, on a form provided by the Division and sworn to before an official of the Division, indicating the applicant's current residence address.” Even if DMV changes the documentation accepted to prove residency next month, the law says DMV must permit the issuance of a license even if the applicant has no documentation other than an ITIN provided they swear or affirm an affidavit.

“Imagine a bank president issuing a press release announcing that the bank's ATMs were giving out money to anyone who asked without proof of identity, but that he planned to have them fixed next month. The bank's owners would be furious. The citizens of this state should be just as furious with Mike Easley,” said Fern Shubert. “The Governor needs to immediately implement any changes that can be made administratively to put an end to our reputation as a state that helps people break the law, and he needs to call a special session of the legislature to make the changes needed that require legislative action. Failure to act promptly is clear proof that he wants to help those who come here to break the law.”

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